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  1. #1
    Richard Boutwell's Avatar
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    Hand-held/Aerial 8x10

    I am thinking about making a hand-held fixed focus 8x10 to use with an aerial project. Has anyone made such a camera? Or used an 8x10 in a small airplane?

    I am envisioning a Hobo with a 19" (480mm) lens. Could be aircraft plywood or aluminum, and would have a standard film back for normal holders.

    By the looks of the Gowland Aerial 8x10, it should be fairly simple-- I would think the hardest part would be finding a LF Shutter fast enough to minimize the effect of the plane's engine vibration. I was thinking maybe a Sinar Epolux or something similar.

    Any thoughts?

    Best, Richard
    ". . . photographing as a two-way act of respect. Respect for the medium and letting it do what it does best- describe. And respect for the subject in describing it as it is. A photograph must be responsible to both."-- Garry Winogrand

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  2. #2
    Dave Wooten's Avatar
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    I could be wrong but I dont really think engine vibration would be much of a problem.

    Fotoman makes one....but not for 480 mm...check Badger Graphic Sales.

    19" might be a bit awkward in a small plane (how small?)

    It might be possible to use a regular field camera with a smaller focal length lens, say 150, 210 or 300? Just some thoughts. In any case if you are set on 480 mm, a simple thin plywood box and use the back from a field camera.
    Last edited by Dave Wooten; 08-17-2007 at 01:11 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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  3. #3

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    richard,

    you might consider putting some sort of metal sleeve around your bellows
    to keep it from being pushed into the the view. (maybe this is only needed
    when shooting from a helicopter, with a HUGE downdraft, but just the same,
    it might be something to consider.

    steve grimes and i were working on a project to make something similar
    for a speed graphic --- i was considering documenting a highway project from the air.

    good luck!

    john

    ps. shoot from a "high wing" plane,
    use the hightest shutter speed your lens has,
    and get a LEASH for your camera
    silver magnets, trickle tanks sold
    artwork often times sold for charity
    PM me for details

  4. #4

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    I have a surplus F5.1 300mm duplex lens from a aerial camera, unluckily the lens was the only part in the surplus store. But I keep see aerial cameras on ebay, and the sellers must think they are made of gold. Just remember you are moving and the shutter speed can't be too slow.
    It's not the camera......

  5. #5
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Standard aerial cameras are 9x9 or 9x18 format with 9" film on rolls. Filters must be used as a function of altitude in about 10,000 - 20,000 ft increments for UV problems.

    The usual lens runs about 36" (Sorry but the English system was used by the AF here. That would be about 1 meter.).

    This arragement works very well.

    PE

  6. #6
    richard ide's Avatar
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    PE
    I thought the long focal length lenses were more for military cameras. Aviogon lenses used in Wild cameras such as the RC7 were 150 mm. I think the Super Aviogon is about 83mm. Both cover 9 x 9.
    Richard

    Why are there no speaker jacks on a stereo camera?

  7. #7
    c6h6o3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Boutwell View Post
    I am thinking about making a hand-held fixed focus 8x10 to use with an aerial project.

    Any thoughts?
    I don't know what you mean by "small airplane", but since you want the camera to be hand held it's probably a safe bet that you won't be riding shotgun in an RF-4. Unless you'll be in a helicopter like a UH-1 with the side door open, even a 19" focal length won't give you enough room to aim the camera.

    Back in my flying days in Louisville I went up a few times with Billy Davis in his custom modified Cessna 210. He had had the left side of the airframe cut out underneath the back seat window and replaced with a plexiglass insert that he could remove while the pilot circled the subject slowly in a steep bank. He used a Speed Graphic and even that was a pretty tight squeeze in a vehicle narrower than my car. And that was with Billy sticking his head and camera outside the aircraft.

    The shutter won't be a problem at all, since you'll always be shooting at infinity. If you're shooting Tri-X rated at 200, on a sunny day you can shoot wide open (given that your lens is f/11) at a 400th of a second. Or 200th at f/16. You get the idea. Besides, the pilot can idle the engine while you're over the subject and there will be little vibration anyway.

    It seems to me your problem is not the camera per se, but the logistics of using such a long lens in such cramped quarters. If it were me, I think I'd go ahead and photograph with a hand held 4x5 or 5x7 and then make digitally enlarged negatives to be contact printed.

    Whatever you do, make sure that there is nothing between you and the subject but air. Shooting through plexiglass windows of the airplane will destroy your resolution. You may as well photograph with a Holga as do that.

  8. #8
    noseoil's Avatar
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    Like a 4x5 box "camera"

    Richard, make one with a fixed focus at infinity and you are good to go. To get that infinity focus correct, make sure to allow for a couple of shims if you don't hit the nail squarely on the head. You can get pretty close with the lens you want, measured on your existing 8x10 setup (front of lens board to face of film holder). I would use thin plywood (1/8" or 3/16") with battens to stiffen the inside edges (3/8" or 1/2") of the snout and yellow glue (Titebond, Elmers, etc.). Same thing with the backing for the film holder. I used band saw blades to hold the back in place as springs. You might think about a "sky hook" in the middle of the snout on two different sides (vert & hor) for a bungie cord or spring to help hold it from the top as you shoot.

    These are two variations of the same thing. The first used a focusing knob, the second just a slip joint with a "box within a box" design for a light trap. Inner box attached to lens board, outer box attached to camera body. Fuzzy velcro was the sliding part to form the light seal. Watch out for buffeting from the wind and put some strong handles on the box! Best, tim

    P.S. pm me if you need to do some brain-storming.
    Last edited by noseoil; 09-16-2007 at 08:38 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #9

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    A fellow I knew in Colorado back in the mid 80's was doing aerial photography. He had a 4X5 camera and nothing with a really long extension. If my memory serves me correct he used something like a 210 mm. He shot wide open and at 1/400 second using color film...probably 160 speed because it was neg film.

    He said a helicopter was smoother so long as it was moving forward slowly.
    Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.

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  10. #10
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by richard ide View Post
    PE
    I thought the long focal length lenses were more for military cameras. Aviogon lenses used in Wild cameras such as the RC7 were 150 mm. I think the Super Aviogon is about 83mm. Both cover 9 x 9.
    You are correct and that is why I said AF (Air Force) in my post, as that is what I was referring to.

    To go on with this though, I used a Speed Graphic with a normal lens to take some very nice air to air and air to ground shots.

    I used Super XX for most all shots.

    PE

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